IPOPHL and PCCI signed a Declaration of Commitment last October 14, 2010, to work in partnership in integrating the promotion of the intellectual property (IP) system and all IP-related matters into PCCI's developmental goals and programs.
The first project to concretize the aforementioned partnership involves the creation of IP-Business Development Units within PCCI's Regional Chambers. In the project's initial phase, the IP-BDUs shall serve as receiving offices of trademark applications of PCCI members. The IP-BDUs shall also provide IP advisory services along the areas of IP asset creation, protection and commercialization.
To build the competencies of potential IP advocates, a Workshop on the Trademark Application Process for Business was conducted last May 2-3, 2012 at the IPOPHL multi-purpose hall for members of PCCI chambers from the National Capital Region (NCR).
Sixteen (16) participants from PCCI Valenzuela, PCCI Marikina, PCCI Quezon City, PCCI Caloocan, PCCI Las Piñas, Quezon City Chamber, and the PCCI Secretariat attended the one and a half-day workshop.
The workshop consisted of lectures, an open forum and one-on-one consultations between the resource speakers and the participants.
The lecture sessions focused on the importance of the Intellectual Property System; what are registrable trademarks, the various kinds, their uses, and how and where to register them; what copyrights are; and, the availability of "patent libraries", a network of Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSO) that aim to strengthen local institutional capacity to access patent information and use the patent system.
The seminar-workshop will be replicated in the provinces where PCCI has local chambers. It is hoped that the partnership between PCCI and IPOPHL will prosper and lead to an IP-inspired culture of innovation and creativity in the regions that will bring forth global competitiveness as well as sustainable countryside and national development. – Fleur Nadua, PCCI Advocacy
What is IP?
According to Dr. Epifanio Evasco, IP is a system that allows people to own their creativity and innovation in the same way that they can own physical property. For business, this is the best protection from competitors copying their products, and to establish a corporate identity.
With the impending accession of the Philippines to the Madrid Protocol, an IP registered in the country will be recognized and protected in the 85 other countries that have also acceded to the Madrid Protocol. This is another opportunity that will widen the door for Philippine businesses to enter into the international market.
Trademarks: the most visible IPR
Trademark is the most visible form of IPR and is the distinguishing mark of a business' goods or services. It could be in a form of a logo, number, slogan, or even 3-dimensional marks. According to Felicidad Jarata of the IPOPHL Field Operation Units, trademarks function as indicators of origin and quality, and advertisement.
Not all trademark registrations are accepted though. Marks that are immoral, deceptive, scandalous, and disparaging in nature are denied the right; so are names, portraits or signature; misleading marks; generic and descriptive indications; color marks; and signs and names identical and confusingly similar to existing ones.
The Trademark Search
IPOPHL brings trademark search to the public by making its database available on the internet. With this, everyone can now search for registered trademarks, applications for registration, and inactive trademarks which includes cancelled, refused and abandoned (with finality) trademarks.
Using trademark search has been helpful to business owners in determining the availability of the mark that is ought to be registered; getting an overview of similar marks in the market; and in determining if the mark in use is already infringing another person's rights.
The database can be accessed at the IPOPHL website (www.ipophil.gov.ph).
Applying for Trademarks
To apply for a trademark, one has to simply fill out the registration form, provide IPOPHL with a copy or a reproduction of the mark that would be registered, and pay the filing fees.
A trademark registration lasts for 10 years from registration and is renewable every ten years. A Declaration of Actual Use with corresponding evidence though should be submitted to IPOPHL within 3 years from the filing date of the applications, and within one year from the fifth anniversary of the registration.
The Business of Copyrights
Copyright is another form of IPR granted by law to the owner of an original literary and artistic work. Unlike common belief, a literary piece or an artwork need not be registered to be copyrighted. The right is already granted by law to the owner of an original literary and artistic work and the work is protected by the sole fact of creation, irrespective of the mode or form of expression, as well as their content, quality and purpose. A copyright lasts a lifetime plus fifty years.
Copyrighted works include books or writings, plays, music, visual arts, designs, photos, films, advertisements, computer programs, and other literary, scholarly, scientific and artistic works, including derivative works. Works in electronic form or disseminated through the internet are also copyrighted.
However, ideas, concepts, principles, procedure, discovery, news items or press information, official texts and translation of laws, and works of the government are not copyrighted and are considered for public consumption and use.
To make IP information and registration more accessible, IPOPHL established the Innovation & Technology Support Offices (I.T.S.O.) or "patent libraries" in different universities and localities. The overall objective of establishing an ITSO network within institutions is to strengthen local institutional capacity to access patent information and use the patent system. This is in line with the mandate of IPOPHL and more specifically, its 3D IP 2020 VISION as the ITSO network will demystify and democratize the patent system, and use it as tool for national development.
ITSOs Serve as a patent search facility and library for patent information; provide skills training in patent searching; render patent search services; and organize a community of patent information users.
In Support of IP protection by promoting domestic and globally-recognized innovations, it provide general information on patents and patenting; provide skills training in patent drafting and prosecution; render patent drafting and prosecution services; and organize a community of experts to participate in patent examination.
In Support of IP utilization by assisting the commercialization of globally-competitive innovations, it render IP audit and evaluation services; provide licensing support; provide advice on IP management & commercialization strategies; and acts a depositary of patent-related documents, papers and statistics.
Currently, there are around 5,000 registered patents in IPOPHL in the Philippines, 95% foreign owned and only 5% are Filipino owned. Registered trademarks are only 8,000, 50% is foreign owned and the other 50% is Filipino owned. IPOPHL is working on multiplying these numbers in order to protect and develop Filipino businesses by creating IP awareness throughout the country.